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Meidingu Pamheiba (1690-1751) was an emperor in Manipurmarker in the early 18th century. After conversion to Hinduism, he made it the official religion of Manipurmarker in 1717. He is also one of the heroes of the Thangal tribe.

Early life and conversion

He was born on December 22, 1690 in Manipurmarker to Pitambar Charairongba and was crowned Meidingu ("king") on August 23, 1708. During the early 1700s, Hindu missionaries from Sylhet arrived in Manipurmarker to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism. They were led by Shantidas Goswami and his associate Guru Gopal Das who succeeded in converting the King from the old Meitei religion to Vaishnavism in 1710. Later during his reign, Pamheiba made Hinduism the official religion, and converted nearly all the Meitei people to Hinduism.

Military conquests

His reign lasted 39 years and during that time, the realm of Manipurmarker extended from the Irrawady in the east to Cacharmarker and Tripuramarker in the west. At some points during his reign, his realm extended into the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Shortly after taking power, in his father Charairongba he invaded Burmamarker after the Burmese King insulted his sister. The Burmese King asked for the hand (in marriage) of another of Charairongba's daughters. Instead of a princess, the King of Burma was met by cavalry, led by Pamheiba that massacred the Burmese army, and brought many POW to Imphalmarker.

In 1734, Pamheiba invaded Tripuramarker and captured 1100 POWs, who were absorbed into the Meitei community.

Hinduization

Though, most of Manipur was at least nominally Hindu especially the Bishnupriya after the 15th century, the major religions among the Meitei people were Islam and Buddhism in certain areas. They also followed Animist beliefs. After 1717, he outlawed the consumption of pork, poultry and beef. He also converted many meitei shrines into Hindu mandirs and fought with the traditional clergy for religious power. The day he burned a large number of Meitei religious scripts, collectively known as Puya in 1729, is known as "Puya Meithaba" in Manipurmarker

Family

Pamheiba had eight wives, and a large number of sons and daughters. His eldest son, Samjai Khurai-Lakpa, was assassinated by his younger son Chitsai, who came to power after Pamheiba's grandson Gaurisiam. The reign was then followed by Ching-Thang Khomba.

References

  1. Thangal General, Charai Thangal And Pamheiba Manipur Online - May 13, 2003
  2. History of Manipur - IIT Guwahati
  3. Manipur, The - Banglapedia
  4. Garib Niwaz: Wars and Religious Policy in 18th Century Manipur KanglaOnline
  5. Traditional Religion Of The Meiteis Manipur Online - September 25, 2006
  6. Manipur script activists set library ablaze Deccan Herald - April 15, 2005


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